tv Washington Journal CSPAN January 20, 2015 7:00am-10:01am EST
at 8:45 a.m., we will preview the tax reform proposal and congressional action. host: among the people sitting the first lady's books night at the seated communion are a doctor who survived ebola and immigrants from the u.s.. tonight, stated the new -- a state of the union coverage starts at the clock. you can watch on c-span. 32 million people watched the speech last year.
some thoughts from you and other people on whether the state of the union is a needed thing this day and age. you can make your thoughts known on the phone. the numbers are on the screen. village of the piece of this morning talks about how much of the things of the speech have been revealed in the last few weeks. usa today compiles and obama state of the union spoiler.
here is just a headline from the washington post this morning. you took to the -- here is a little bit from the white house youtube channel. [video clip] >> everybody in sportsyou have to play the game and we have been laid down by the worst financial crisis of the great depression. and because of the incredible great and resilience of the
american people, america is in the best position to turn the page. we have the best job growth since the 1990's. in employment rate has dropped to 5.6%. we have seen manufacturing come back. we have cut our deficits. gas prices have dropped. we are well-positioned for the future. at the key is making the right choices. this state of the union gives me an opportunity to present to the american people now that we have fought our way through the crisis, how do we make sure that everybody in this country, how do we make sure that they are sharing in this growing economy? how do we make sure that they have the tools to succeed? host: that is from the white house. again, is the state of the union worth it? the numbers are on the screen. we will start with ginny in ohio, republican line, go ahead. caller: you know, i think it's
really sad, because most people don't even know the constitution. they don't pay attention to what the president do. they would just rather play their games. i don't understand why people are not interested in that. host: do you watch state of the union speeches? caller: not everyone, but i tried to keep up with everything going on. yes, they should have that, of course. like them or not like them. host: what argument would you make to keep the state of the union? that would make the relevant? caller: because of freedom of speech and freedom of our country. host: will you watch tonight? caller: i think i'm going to yes. host: you can watch on c-span actually. as most of us follow these kinds of things on c-span edit :00.
-- at 8:00. bill from pennsylvania -- monrovia pennsylvania, tom is next. caller: the president's speech tonight will be relevant because he lives so much, starting with nsa, benghazi, the irs scandal and obamacare. i just don't think this president can be trusted and i don't see why anyone would waste their time listening to him. host: tom, before you go, have you not watched the president state of the union speeches? and have you watched other presidents state of the union speeches? caller: yes, i have watched others state of the union
speeches. i just don't trust what this president said, because he does whatever he wants and it's not relevant. it doesn't make sense to trust what he tells you. host: on twitter, a follower says this morning when it comes to the themes of this state of the union speech, adding that there is lots of great news to talk about, the economies of jobs are up, and gas prices are down. many themes that will be reflected in the speech tonight. we are asking you if you think this reach matters. you can give us your thoughts, as some of our viewers have artie done so this morning. -- have already done so this morning. the numbers are on the screen. steve chapman in the chicago
and republican ileana ros-lehtinen -- is it worth it, the state of the union? carl, from miami, florida, that is the question we are asking. what do you think? caller: yes, i think it is good. love, pedro. --hola pedro. if it was bad business, then it would have in, -- it would have been, hey, let him speak. the young people love it. we've got a future and it's good for the nation and good for the world. host: will you be one of those watching you caller: you bet -- will you be one of those watching?
caller: you bet. host: have you watched them over all? caller: yes and there is the opportunity to try to switch parties and make a better community, better country. and we have that choice. and when you do good, those of us who know the way, we should appreciate the good that is being done because the good outweighs the bad. let's get over it. this country is going to grow. it's doing fine and we are just grateful to the good. host: gary in massachusetts. caller: good morning. i believe the leader of the free world should be listened to. his points are very important for people who believe.
and for the country, and the safety of the world. you certainly want to know what is on his mind. and he has been off a lot -- she has bitten off a lot -- he has bitten off a lot, but he has shown he is up to the task. anyone who wants to understand the political time it should be listening to the state of the union address. host: gary, is there anything in particular you will be listening for? caller: as always, you're up to date there, and i think terrorism is always the biggest worry on people who want world peace. it's always on our minds. i would appreciate it if he would make an effort to just calm some of the fears the world has. host: that is gary from
massachusetts appear. joseph from germantown, maryland, independent line. caller: good morning. reporting to congress as mandated by the constitution in article two, section three, and it says the president time to time will report to the congress about the state of the union. he is doing what he is supposed to do and it is in the constitution. as for me watching it, it's all political nowadays. he knows he's setting himself apart, and i believe it has to do with setting up politics for 2016 elections. host: what leads you to that conclusion? caller: 41, he is promoting more entitlement -- well for one he is promoting more entitlement programs. for example, his two years free
college, raising taxes on the rich, we know that they will not agree to do that. it cannot happen, no matter what he wants. if they bring up the xl pipeline, we know that he will veto it. we know they don't appear to have the votes right now to override the veto. he is setting himself up in stark contrast to what the american public elected to have happen in the last election. again, i think in contrast to what democrats want to offer in the next presidential alleging -- election. host: the des moines register has a newly minted senator who will give a response, joni ernst, republican of iowa. she gets the national stage tuesday in her rebuttal, but hurricane might be forgotten.
that rebuttal, by the way, also parted c-span coverage of the state of the union. you can see it live after the means beach -- main speech of the state of the union. do the speeches matter? that is the question we are closing to you this morning. just in from south carolina, what do you think? caller: hello? host: justin, you are on. go ahead. david, from tulsa, oklahoma democrat line. caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. i will be watching the speech tonight. i think it's incredibly important. and two things i will be listening for our obama's position on immigration and what he continues to do -- what he
will continue to do concerning immigration. and the other is education. in tulsa, we already have a system in place where high school graduates can for two years, get a free education at the community college. oklahoma is as read a state as it gets, and for that to be in place in tulsa shows that it can work. i will be watching. i hope it expands -- he expenses position on immigration -- i hope he expands his position on immigration and encourages other states to continue the committee college program for high school graduates. -- community college program for high school graduates. host: some of the other themes, with those swirly for u.s. watch
-- as far -- with those spoil it for you as far as watching the speech is concerned? caller: no, because you get all of the anchors telling you what you're going to hear. i feel like i have a brain and i'm intelligent enough to listen to the president and know what he said and have an opinion about what he said. and afterwards, we go to the phone calls and not back to the anchors to tell you what you just heard. the social media event that spoil it for me -- don't spoil it for me, because i watch it on c-span. i think it is a great service by incorporating the phone calls before and after the speech. host: again, that coverage at 8:00 to month republican response as part of that, as well as your phone calls. we will hear next from danielle in pennsylvania.
independent line. go ahead. caller: good morning. i think you all do a great deed. everyone, we all need to listen to the president's agenda and contrast his plan compared to the republicans. it's a political process. i will be tuning in tonight. host: what do you watch for when you watch these speeches, what you watch for specifically? caller: what i watch for specifically is what they are going to do for us, the people. i don't want to keep hearing the talking points. i don't want to keep hearing everyone talk around what we are -- what actually is going to happen. that is why it is very important for us to alternate -- to all tune in, because we, the people,
have rights. host: sherry up next in kentucky, democrat line. sherry from kentucky, good morning. caller: good morning. host: you are on. go ahead. caller: i will watch the state of the union. i am proud to. and i think it's an important thing. host: why so? caller: it's just a great thing to do. it's a great thing to watch the state of the union. host: ok, that is sherry from louisville, kentucky. a tradition of highlights the state of the union, those who will fit in the first lady's box, a little over 20 people included this morning. the white house has a complete the another. the "washington times goes good a listing of some of the highlights of the people sitting there. the presidents list includes a
doctor who recovered from ebola a victim of gun violence, a government worker freed in a prisoner exchange as part of the outreaching cuba -- those guests most likely will be highlighted, some of them at least, in tonight's speech. in missouri, you are, democrat line. caller: i, for sure, will watch the president stated the union address tonight. and i want to tell you the president's approval rating is up to 46%. we always hear when it down, but right now it's up to 46%. host: tell me why you are going to watch tonight. caller: i'm interested in what
yes to say and i always feel he gives a good speech. i kind of don't like the republican response because everything is always so negative. i'm looking for some positives. host: again, carol is one of many who live watching tonight, over 30 million people. 50 million in 2009. part of the coverage tonight will be the story extending days afterwards with how many people are actually watching the stock one of the highlights in the papers this week, at least this -- at least today. you can see how those numbers have changed over the years. one of the things being highlighted in the papers today is the use of social media. not only in -- is the white house using social media to put out policies that will be part of the theme of the speech, but also tonight is part of the post
state of the union address interviews, not only done with networks correspondents and the like, but the sun three youtube personalities will sit down with the president as part of the coverage to talk to him and asking questions. here is a preview. [video clip] >> mr. obama. >> you know, the president of the united states. >> the lack of jobs for college graduates. >> net neutrality. >> unemployment. >> finally, mr. president -- >> who is your favorite youtube creator? ♪ host: again, if you want to go to the youtube channel and watch those profiles about the
questions to the president, you can do so. mary in richmond, virginia republican line. caller: yes, hello. how are you? host: fine, thanks. caller: i'm going to turn off the television after the president's speech tonight. i don't even want to hear the response -- the republican response. the republicans are so offbeat. and the president has done such a wonderful job and his ideas are so creative and wonderful for the country. i am fully in support of the president. host: what do you want to hear from the president tonight? caller: i just want to hear his ideas about free education about his ideas on all of these issues, and the way he has handled the foreign affairs.
i'm happy. i think he has made wise decisions. it has been very difficult, and it is still difficult to stop and the -- and it is still difficult. and he has a hard road ahead and the republicans, what they do to him, i am ashamed to be a republican. i really am. i just want to support the president. host: eddie from iowa, democrat line. eddie, go ahead, please. caller: yes, how are you doing at home host: you are on, go ahead. caller: yes, how are you doing at the -- how are you doing? i'm calling about the state of the union. host: ok, go ahead. caller: i think the state of the union is very important. host: eddie, you're going to have to keep talking in the phone and not listen to the television. caller: because the people of
the world -- host: we are going to put you on hold and while you are on hold turn down your television. we can come back and talk to you. there is a little bit about the speechwriter behind tonight's statement -- the state of the union address, cody keenan. he spent 15 days hold up in a hotel room in honolulu as the president vacations nearby. this is the new york times, by the way, michael schmidt writing.
let's try eddie from iowa, go ahead. ok, we're going to move to joy. state college, pennsylvania, good morning. joy from state college, pennsylvania. caller: good morning. host: good morning. joy, you are on full stop go ahead. caller: ok, i will not be watching this evening. it's more propaganda from the white house. president obama has constantly divided our country on every issue, whether it economic or social. and we need to stand up and stop
it. and not everyone in the world can take advantage of that free education. it will be mostly geared to the lower income. i mean, the middle class has gotten hurt drastically under this president. i just go that we are not getting any better. -- i just feel that we are not getting a better. the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting handouts. what is going to say tonight we'll just heard more of the middle class. host: let's hear from john, john in michigan, republican line. caller: good morning. i agree with the lady that was just on. basically, what this is all about is what the previous caller had said, about the
things that obama is bringing up . it is all things that the democrats are looking at for the 2016 election. as far as the free college thing, they used to have a lot of programs in high schools that encompass a lot of these trade things, which have been eliminated because that -- there wasn't interest or the money. the federal government is going to come out and pay for this. $18 trillion in debt we are. that is what we are right now. these young people, just like this youtube thing that you had on, what were these? these are all young, impressionable people that are looking at this guy is a savior. he is the devil. host: jack from new jersey democrat line, go ahead. caller: i been watching c-span
for years. since brian lamb was sitting where you are sitting. i have been watching this last election, when republicans left this country in a mess and president obama try to turn it around and republicans consistently obstructed what he tried to do. and now that he's trying to turn the country around, they are trying to criticize him and prevent him from bragging a little bit in the state of the union when now the economy and other things are starting to turn upward. and they can't bear it, because they didn't have any part of it, since they were the ones that were obstructing the whole thing in the first place from the day he took office. this is bittersweet in a way. host: michael from ohio independent line. caller: hello, good morning. how are you?
host: fine, thanks. go ahead. caller: i want to tell you some stuff about president obama. his campaign he followed bush policy, he followed the wall street and in ca --nca. he wavered to assad. obama is responsible by incompetence of the deaths of half a million syrians. and of course, the president did not put economic policy. i'm in the midwest where people make hard living. host: so will you watch the state of the union tonight, or does it matter to you? caller: i want to watch it to have a laugh. i was born overseas. i am syrian american stop -- i am syrian american.
this man is a disappointment. host: surely, south dakota, republican line. caller: yes, i probably won't be watching it i -- because i really don't like reruns and is all mr. obama does. host: that is surely from our south dakota -- from south dakota. texas governor rick perry on his last day of office talking a little bit about 2016, but also talking about traditions that exist in that governorship. the governor also spoke of performing one of his last acts as governor, underlying a passage in the bible for greg abbott.
the state of the union does it matter? we will hear from barbara in massachusetts independent line. caller: i don't think obama is for the middle class. he says he's doing stuff for the middle class even the wind thinking and about to lose my house, and we are middle-class. the guy is useless. host: the state of this union -- the state of the union speeches do they matter to you at all? caller: no, they don't. if he comes on the screen can minute it. if someone were to investigate source, the -- soros, he uses obama as a puppet. host: the, good morning. caller: i was disappointed when i heard who was going to be sitting in this is obama's box. -- mrs. obama's box, the illegal
immigrants. i have friends going through the five-year process. why not have someone of that stature with her? the president always seems to embrace a peculiar span of american citizens, those of us who taxpayers, citizens working, hard -- working hard people, i don't know, it seems like he wants to give people everything. when you give people too much, they are not appreciative. i just look at people in my own family work very hard at jobs, raising families, in school keeping themselves above the fray. no, i will not watch. i flick it on a few times, but i will be pleased when he is no longer there. host: if you don't watch it will you follow up, either recorded or see it on social media? do you touch up on the major
themes of what the speech talks about? caller: yes, i don't put my head in the sand. but i've had enough of him. good that. -- goodbye. host: todd, republican from indiana, go ahead. caller: i would like to make a comment about this free college education. for the most part, they should take word "free" out of every dictionary in this country because anybody who tells you they are going to give you something of value for free they are lying to you. host: ralph, up next to my california -- up next, california, independent line. caller: hello. my statement is that i'm in favor of the policies of president obama. of course, the republicans have stonewalled everything he has done.
his proposals, by the time they make it out and get signed, does not look anything like the original proposal. that is just part of the process. host: the sake of the union speech, does it matter? caller: it absolutely matters. host: why? caller: i will be watching it as a way to keep up with things, and mean, to hear his perspective, and also just to see the process. i do want to make a statement about education, that is an investment. that is one of the best investments you can possibly be made. if you are in favor of improving the coughing good -- the common good, that is the best thing that can be made. host: the state of the union and if it matters. you can give your thoughts in the next 10 minutes or so.
robert, trenton and calamitous error, we are asking about the state of the union and what you think. caller: yes, it matters. but the president it's time to take money away for millionaires and billionaires. if they don't retain trade all of these trillions of dollars that they have overseas, then we will come to date it, -- confiscate it, bring it back and use it to make factories and hire people. that way, the millionaires eventually nears will make
money. but just to take money away from them, no. but tell them, either get those trillions of dollars back home in the united states refurbished, and hire people so the country can be prosperous again. host: robert, why use stated the union matters? caller: pardon? host: why do you think the state of the union matters? well it -- caller: well, it does, yes. with the president says host: is important. host:mohammed from virginia democrat line. caller: i'm definitely going to watch the president's state of the union. he probably should mention something about islamic radicals .
what is he going to do about a? -- about it? that is my expectation of the state of the union. host: nbc takes a look at the state of the union in light of recent polling they have done on the economy. and they are saying right now, the president is not getting much credit for the improvement in the economy.
all of those factors come into play as the president addresses a joint session of congress this evening at the state of the union. again, you can start watching our coverage at 8:00 this evening. not only do we have leading up but the details to be found in it. we will take your phone calls and comments as well. kentucky, aj is up next. good morning. caller: good morning. the state in the union does matter. i think our president is doing a wonderful job. a quotation from the bible romans 8:31, "if god is for us who can be against us?" have a blessed day. host: lydia in maryland, democrat line. caller: the state of the union matters because it's mandated by the constitution and the american people need to know the state of the union.
most people are busy with their jobs, their children. i'm retired, so i can sit here all day and watched the span. i watch the house and the senate. -- and watch c-span. i watch the house and the senate. the state of the union is very important, and the president has a right to brag on what he has done. he has done it single-handedly without any help from republicans, and the two-year free community college tuition is very important. for young people getting out of high school, you can study nursing. this technicians that x-ray cats and, mri, the technicians that program let tronics -- electronics. young people can have a career. host: part of the state of the union includes a response from republican. joni ernst will give the
response. cathy mcmorris rodgers last year gave it. joni ernst will give it tonight. you can watch that as well. jack from mechanics falls maine, good morning. caller: inks for taking my call. people should watch the state of the union address on c-span to avoid being influenced by the other opinions formed by the so-called lame screen media and the other media, which i will affectionately referred to as the lamebrain media. i hope everyone pays attention tonight. host: we will be joined next up by two former presidential aides who will give some insight into the speechwriting process, what goes into it, the content, what phase out, and the state of the union. we will be joined by former bush
41 speech writer, mary kate cary and former clinton speechwriter, paul orzulak. and later, newsletter new ski will be here to discuss --niels mesniewski will be here as well. christine lagarde, the head of the imf, addressing people here in washington about the nature of the global economy. if you mistakenly can watch it on our without -- our website www.c-span.org. here's a little bit of that exchange. [video clip] collects should lower -- >> should lower will prices and a stronger recovery in the united states make us more upbeat about the prospect for the global economy? unfortunately, most likely the answer is no.
no. no why? because there are partial factors, legacies of the crisis that are still we get that -- that are still with us and weakening our economies. clearly, the drop in oil price is, as we say, a shot and a welcome shot in the arm of the global economy. but to use the physical analogy the shot in the arm is good, but the global economy is weak on its knees stop we need strong arms and legs as well. cheaper oil increases the need for private demand for oil importing countries. and depending on how long oil prices remain low, this could provide positive contributions for global growth for some time. as for the u.s. economy, it
performed well in 2014 and in order to strengthen even more in 2015 largely due to more robust spending. i'm not paying too much attention to the study published this morning. to be checked, but it does not change our perspective. u.s. unemployment continues to decline stop cheaper oil -- to decline. cheaper oil continues to boost outcomes and monetary policy. what is the catch? the oil price and u.s. growth are not the cure to deep-seated weaknesses elsewhere. too many countries are way down by at least two factors legacies of the financial crisis, high debt, and high unemployment. too many companies keep cutting back on investment and
consumption today because they are concerned about the growth tomorrow. host: again, if you want to see the total comments of ms. lagardere my you can do so on our c-span website www.c-span.org. joining us now to talk about the state of the union, two former speech writers from various administration. we first hear from all orzulak -- paul orzulak, writer for george clinton and mary kate cary, writer for george w. bush. -- george h.w. bush. can you start off with what he hopes to achieve tonight? guest: it is two things. it is a chance to form your policies. and you say this is what i'm
going to be about this year. and then to set the terms of the debate going forward. it is one of the few chances the president has to speak to the nation without a media filter to present his ideas directly. it is the bane of every speechwriter, because they invariably turn it into what people call laundry lists. but if done right, it can help make a case for your plants -- plasns. hopefully we will hear what the next two years is going to be about. guest: i would agree with all of that. paul is right, it's a chance to make her case to the american people. -- to make the case to the american people. and to say washington really can do things, they really do have a plan, and then to try to convince people there is lamenting for positive change in the u.s. host: you said it was the bane of every writer's existence.
give us a little bit about what it's like trying to run a speech for george w. bush. guest: it was such a great experience. i was a 25 euros b treader -- 25-year-old speech writer. i won all kinds of writing awards and was the national spelling bee winner, and i would 10 times rather write a speech like that than the state of the union address. that one, you were guaranteed to be on the nightly news and no one said that was a terrible speech. the state of the union, a tremendous amount of work, months and months of work. and what was the last time you ever heard anybody quote from the state of the union? it is not known as a memorable speech. it is important, but not a fun speech to write. host: i suppose the response
from the president is something you looked forward to with trepidation as well. guest: right, the worst response to get from any president, i believe, is an -- a giant x across the page. that is when you know you've gone off track and lost the intention and you've got to get back on track. the best responses when they slip one word and writing in the margins, and then you have sparked a thought. that is what you want as a speechwriter. host: tell us about your process writing for resident clinton. guest: i, too, was a back entrance speechwriter. i did not write a lot of things that would be carved in marble. nobody likes the state of the union. it's a huge process, as mary kate said. and the chief ben is sort of a steward of -- the chief pen is sort of a steward of the process. and this white house as we
reach out to ceos and other sectors, you are getting a massive amount of information trying to fit it into something attic, something -- some thematic, narrative position. people start out trying to get rid of the laundry list of the state of the union but process doesn't lend itself to that. at the end of the day mario cuomo said you campaign in poetry and you govern in prose. this is the pros. this is the work of government. ill clinton always relished these moment because -- bill clinton always relished these moment because what he did better than anyone, people thought of him as an explainer in chief. he could make a case for why he was so passionately putting something forward. that is partly why he had the longest speeches in history.
host: what about getting exes and circles? what response you get from president clinton? guest: the process usually started with staff assembly a lot before christmas. he would do a lot of reading and then after christmas, this process would go through where he would write -- rewrite a lot of things until the week of. of course, every president has a different process. president bush and mary kate's president would lock things down a few days earlier. president clinton wrote on the way to the state of the union. it works differently for each president. everybody works differently. host: again, the process of the writing of the state of the union for some you may have some questions about the process. the numbers are on the screen.
back during when you were writing the speech is, how much of the main themes were already revealed? a lot of the major themes have been telegraphed in the past two weeks by this president will stop what was it like at the time -- by this president. what was it like at a time you were writing? guest: we would say, ok, for the next two weeks we will be talking capital gains, tax-cut whatever. there was a list of topics that got handed to the speechwriters and it was up to you to figure out how to make it interesting in a way that was local and colorful and things like that. the speech themes were decided well in advance with -- by people with bigger paychecks. guest: we had a president that has similar themes through the years of administration. every speech somehow fit that
framework. ronald reagan famously had three central things for every state of the union, and if those policies did not fit into those themes, that is why those were so short. you want to in any given year reflect what is happening in that year, but you also have an overall arc. these last two years, when legacy is a much bigger issue for presidents like president obama, you will be talking about the resurgence is real, talking about creating more jobs in a month than any time since the 1990's, you know, it's framing the last six years and giving us a sense of where the next two years will be closing. but it's with an eye forward and then i back --an eye back. host: and the unemployment
numbers help, too. guest: his approval ratings are up nine points in the last month. i don't think is an accident. the economy is doing better, but not for everybody. that is what the president will address tonight, and that's why the focus is on middle-class job creation, tax relief, and trinity college -- community college. guest: i would disagree with you on one point, which is the list of topics i have seen that when you look at the latest polls of american voters, the economy is still number one. and what is surging up this morning is terrorism and the deficit in the military. i don't think we are going to hear any more about those. i think the president probably
feels defensive on the subject of terrorism because of what happened in paris. if i were him, i would have a lot more foreign policy in the speech that we are going to hear. guest: i do think he has laid out a lot of cyber security terrorism programs that he will be talking about tonight in a week of sony, and everything -- you know, centcom being hacked the day he delivered a cyber security address. this is the next battlefield. guest: i think people will want to hear that. guest: he will definitely want to talk about how after 13 long years, afghanistan has come to an end and how we to the extent possible helped make it as peaceful as possible. i think he will address terrorism. there are some big issues things like entitlement reform and certainly, budget issues.
if we're going to compromise in the next few years, here's where i'm coming from. i'm helping the middle class succeed in opportunity and then let's have a discussion about everything else in the next few years from that position. host: our guests will take questions. first call from virginia. go ahead. caller: a keeper taking my call. ima registered -- thank you for taking my call. i'm a registered democrat and president obama has done a wonderful job since he took office in 2009. everyone must remember the mess we were in when he took office. and without republicans lifting a finger to help him, he rescued
this economy and brought forward , and the most important thing to remember is this economy today is not like the 1990's or middle 2000's. this growth is robust and sustainable. there is no bubble. we see moderate growth. it is real and sustainable. host: the trick is, how do i take credit for that? guest: last year's state of the union address them i remember president obama in a quite surprising way, i thought, was very clear about how poorly the economy was doing and how displeased he was. and he kicked off a series of very bad numbers, i thought. president clinton, if you look back on his speeches, especially near the end of his term, every single state of the union address, he rolled in his policy initiatives with the good news
and the compliments of everything he had achieved. and i think president obama could take a page from that. and talk about some of those things. i think that is why politically for his legacy, and he's got to start working -- worrying about that. and he has not until this point. he could take some advice from you. the rest of the world has an unprecedented growth the last decade. for the first time in 15 years
there is a sense that the economy is back on track. we can do things now to address and build again. mary kay was right, last year was not as clear. what the president kept saying it was he year were everything turned around. we are seeing the results of six years of a focused effort to get things back on track. is it perfect? no. we can talk about how we build together going forward. >> i want to make it clear that i don't agree with all of his accomplishments or what he is going to propose doing. i think it makes good political sense if he would start taking credit.
some of the things he will propose tonight, there is some overlap. i hope there is a change in tone from the last two weeks. where he can take the things they do agree on and move forward with that. republicans are in favor of an earned income tax credit. marco rubio proposed that. i don't understand why he is using that against republicans and trying to make that look like they are not in favor of that there is plenty of common ground. i don't understand the combative tone or it -- guest: it's not the president that is putting you on the defensive, it's the position
from your own. the republican growth of the middle class opportunity have been different than the democratic vision. what the president is doing is defining the democratic vision going forward and recognizing that progress can be made. we are going to have to figure out ways to work together. i think it's setting the terms of the debate going forward tonight. if the republicans are defensive about that, it's because it's far from their agenda. caller: good morning. i am with an organization in washington dc. we are for d.c. statehood and we have been advocating that the resident talk about his support for statehood in the state of the union for several years. we have a petition on the white house website.
i want to know, when he publicly choose that subject? would it be part of the speech? guest: i would predict probably not. guest: i would say no. i have had a lot of people work in the d.c. statehood movement. i have admired their work. the work has to happen on capitol hill. the president could put in a nice line about d.c. statehood. he supports it. the work has to happen on capitol hill. the state of the union address gets criticism for being a feel-good bunch of platitudes. they don't have a clear path forward. this is one of those. i think a lot of work has to happen on this issue and others
which congress has a safe. host: james is in california. caller: i think that any responsible american needs to hear both sides. they need to listen to the state of the union address, which is always important area it does outline the presidential plans and directions. they need to listen to the rebuttals from the republicans. i think a lot of republicans should get on board with those things that they agree with. voters rights, the republicans more than some of the democrats are blocking some of these issues as they come to the floor. they are leaving themselves open
for a real embarrassment. some of them should be put on trial for crimes against humanity because of their extremely conservative ideals. guest: we have a lot of different people and we see that it has been divided about 50-50. i don't doubt that people who are conservative believe strongly as i do. i believe in what i believe and what the president believes. i don't think we should cast dispersion just because their views are different than our own. minimum wage increase, voting rights, those are issues that we should behind because this is what the country has always been about. i don't think republicans support either of those. guest: we are in favor of a
voting rights. guest: given that 25 republican state legislatures have put huge barriers up to voting rights over the last four or five years that require ids and other things. guest: i don't think showing id is him -- outrageous thing. guest: there are a lot of elderly voters the don't have driver's license and they were not able to vote. more republicans have used the word freedom and liberty in's reaches according to this great analysis than anybody else in history. that is absolutely true. guest: i would endorse your urging people to watch the republican response.
i had the privilege of writing one when it was christine todd whitman. it was a big deal for a woman to give the response. i'm not privy to what joni ernst will be saying. she is an iraqi war veteran. i think she is one of the rising stars of the republican party. last year, it was a small business owner. she is from washington state. she did a great job. she showed the alternative view. i think people near deer both. she did a great job of inviting voters and other legislators to join our agenda. i thought she was very effective. i hope people stay tuned. host: that response is part of the coverage you will hear at
8:00. as far as responses go, do those people write the response? how to they do that? guest: when ever a republican is in office, the head of the democratic national to midi decides who gives the response. bill clinton was president and haley barbour was head of the rnc. i was a speechwriter for a haley barbour. and he put me on loan to her. i was there to tweak it'd make sure it was consistent with everything that haley barbour would have wanted. guest: there are some people jim webb dave one of them -- gave one of them. he wrote it himself. he is a writer.
other people use staff. some use outside writers. i think it's a chance for the party to get the message forward. it's hard. my first loss in politics was senator harkin. as good as anybody is on camera, it's hard to follow the president in a packed chamber with applause when you're staring into a camera. when senator rubio gave the response a few years ago, needed a drink of water became a national story. host: let's go to rich in tennessee. caller: good morning. thank you for the opportunity to address speechwriters directly. they just touched on the issue i
want to ask about. i mean no disrespect to them. i know you have to put food on the table. it's a living. my question is why should the leader of the country in a speechwriter rather than giving an impassioned defense of his ideas and what the speechwriters do? i can understand the need for editing and grammar with published works. if phrases are going to be quoted and attributed to leaders, it makes one wonder through history how much of lichens -- the gettysburg address was written by abraham
lincoln. all of these famous quotes, where they actually springing forth from the leader or from -- whose ideas? guest: the examples that the caller gave, president lincoln wrote the gettysburg address. george washington gave the first say to the union address to congress. thomas jefferson helped him write it. projecting your ideas doesn't mean that you have the only pen. leaders in these positions 10 to hear -- tend to hear other people. we used to describe ourselves as people united in the delusion that we could write a speech better for president clinton
that he could write for himself if he had the time. while the president is out running the free world the white house is receiving memos and proposals from dozens and dozens of different cabinet agencies and ceos. those ideas are brought in and the president puts his stamp on what he wants to talk about. it's our job to go off and come up with a draft. it gets presented to him. if he likes a draft he sketches it. the current speechwriter has done a magnificent job. it started really strong out of that process. the president just made line edits working up to the address. host: mr. obama refers to him as hemingway.
guest: to riches concern the reason the president or any of the fortune 500 eeo's or any of our clients that we have had over the years, there are a couple of reasons. these people tend to be at that level in a bubble and needed somebody who is the eyes and ears picking up stories or statistics or grabbing the cocktail crasher. you have a statistic so good it makes you drop your drink. you also have a duty to do all of the fact checking. you have a research office that helps. factual inaccuracies are the greatest way to destroy a speech. you instantly lose that ability. you have to have somebody who is
paying attention to the consistency. you are not flip-flopping and getting into trouble for saying something different than you have said in the past. what paul is saying, there is a time versus money versus power factor. is this a good use of the president's time to be flipping through jokes when he is the leader of the free world? it's an honor and a privilege for us to do it anonymously. we are team players. we are there because we believe in the same priorities as the president and the client that we work for. guest: every president takes an active role in the state of the union. president clinton rewrote huge parts to the point to he realized a lot of his speeches ran long. during those editing sessions,
he would figure out how many words he cut and then write the number of words on the bottom of each page. he would add back 2000 words. that process of reconciling the draft, the president doesn't have time to do that. guest: would you rather have him doing that or negotiating with nato? host: heidi from indiana, you are on with our guests. they are both former presidential speechwriters. caller: hi. i live in indiana. i am going to hop from topic to topic. i think it was good that obama needs to to his horn about his accomplishments more. he has done a lot. is made it easy for people with big student loans and passed the
health care bill. it's a start for sure. the whole thing was getting saddam hussein. that was fantastic. it made me proud to be an american. my son was active in the campaign. i was active in the hillary clinton campaign. that is the beauty of america. host: what would you like to hear from our guest? caller: there are a few things. they said about obama writing. he is a very articulate person and a very good speechwriter. we need people to edit. host: back to the speechwriter. what is his day like? specifically on this date?
guest: we had a role that the speech was in the can. finished. no changes. 48 hours at. the president has the right to make changes. he rarely did. he told us a story the first day we were there in office area and he said he had been in a limo with president reagan going to an event. the speechwriter handed reagan his speech cards. vice president bush said, is that the first time you've seen this? and president reagan said yes. they get out of the car. reagan goes up to the podium and knocks it out of the ballpark. president bush tells us the story. he says don't ever think that
you can do that to me. i want all speeches 48 hours in advance because i need to practice them. he knew his limitations as a speaker. he put in a lot of practice time. this date, he would be in the white house theater with a small group of staff practicing the delivery. textual changes were done by that point. guest: i think his day today will be better than the 15 days he was in a hotel room in hawaii. or the hours he spent in a windowless office. if you are fan of "the west wing.," it's a moment of glory for speechwriters. there's an episode where sam seabourn is announced into the
room. he gets big applause. in reality he tells a story that in that room after one of these native the unions that was really successful, president clinton introduced him as the guy who typed my speech. cody his earned some time off. the president will go on the road. it is a lonely existence. it is one persons pen that ultimately is responsible for making all of these changes and framing it and comment with the conceptual arc. cody has had that responsibility since before christmas. he probably has a sense of relief. this president locks down of the same way. they are probably rehearsing it
but not changing anything. there is a chance he got his first good nights sleep last night. host: do you watch it with other people? how does that work? guest: the first year that president bush gave his first state of the union, right before the motorcade took off they asked him if he wanted to ride the president. he said i will go watch it with my kids. i was not a mom yet. i can't believe he just turned that down. i said something to him the next day, i wanted to watch it as 50 million americans watched it. hopefully i will read it again next year and this will show me how everybody else sees it. if i was in that chamber, it's a very different view.
he chose to watch it on television with his family. and learn from that. guest: i watched the first four from the floor of the, -- congress. it's all pageantry. it's remarkable. it's better watched on tv, just like football. you see the way everybody else sees it. somebody different people react in real-time. if you watched some of those dial meter readings, you can see what's connecting. host: bill from florida is on the democrat line. caller: good morning. i wonder how much of speech writing really is spent, it's been my observation that
whenever we have a republican -- democrat in office, the deficit goes down. when a republican in the senate the deficit goes up here in the deficit is an important part of what people worry about. how you tell people that cutting taxes is going to help lower the deficit when it's never done it? guest: if you offset it does. this administration has reduced two thirds of the deficits that it took office with. this president has proposed tax cuts for the middle class. he is offset it with higher taxes in capital gains. those things will make it pay for itself. speeches are spin in the leaf of
a party is spin to somebody. these are what we believe. if these are honest expressions of what we are in government to do, there are cases to be made on both sides. i would agree that every republican has cut taxes and the deficit goes up. the republicans famously during president reagan's term said they would run up deficits to the point where we had to cut programs. what seems like partisan politics is motivated by very real passions on both sides. guest: you may recall that the 1990 budget deal, president bush was upset about the deficit.
he get democrats to agree to spending caps. he did not want to go for taxes. he wanted to spending cuts in place. we know the political price he paid for that decision. because he was not there, he did not get to enjoy the fruits of that agreement. bill clinton was in charge when we had balanced budgets that were mandated by that law. that led to the surpluses that get used to fund the wars after 9/11. we can argue about whether there should have been wars. that is where that money went. i disagree that all republicans purposefully run up deficits. i feel like president bush did the right thing and bill clinton got the credit for. guest: that was a great moment of political courage. host: we are talking about the
state of the union. johnny from chicago, you are next. caller: thank you for taking my call. i would just like to say two things. i enjoy the show. i'm enjoy listening to the information. i'm a veteran. i was born in mississippi and came to chicago. i never got married, but i had three kids. i adopted three kids. they went to college and all of them have good jobs. they had kids. i have a daughter, one daughter, she is working in georgia for the state. i was at the post office. i was there 32 years.
i don't know anything about asking somebody for a handout. i don't know anything about asking for free this or three that. it seems like everything is negative to things like that. anytime you have people that are so negative and they degrade other people and then they say an act for other things or other people, jobs to be done. be careful what you ask for. if the good ward -- lord is willing, everyone that has talked negative about what this administration has done, i want to hear what they have to say. guest: thank you for your service and for raising a remarkable family. we have both worked in government.
i've worked at every level of government. public employees tend to be a whipping boy and have been for 20 years. some of the most committed and hardest working people i know are in the federal government. you're right. there are people who go to work and raise the families and do everything that you said. i think this president will receive a lot more credit as time goes by. i would go so far as to suggest that if a republican was office we would talk about it being morning in america again. that's not the role of the opposition party right now. they have taken an approach that doesn't give the president any credit for anything. the majority leader in the senate claim the economy was in good shape and rebounding just because the republicans won the
election and all the change happened since then. that's interesting, but not true. host: don, you are next up are in --. caller: how much of the comment line goes into the speechwriters? i've been calling in since reagan was president. the reason that george bush was not reelected was because he was having heart attacks in japan. guest: i think your question was how much do people calling into the white house line get into the speech.
you might want to write a letter instead of calling in. if you look at the list of people who will be guests of the first lady, there are 25 who will sit in the gallery, a tremendous number of them are people who wrote others to the president through the correspondence office. they won the lottery and are coming to washington and their families are getting entertained at the white house while they go to sit at the capital. you might want to change your mo. instead of calling, send in some letters. that works much better. host: who gets highlighted in the first lady's box? guest: the process is constant all year long as they go out to of that's. as they meet people, they keep a list. there is a person who handles
correspondence for both the president and first lady. they pull the letters for them to see out of all the letters they get. it's a mixture the rest of the white house has plenty of insight. i'm sure that the speechwriters send in people that they have met. the keeper of the list is the speechwriter for the first lady. guest: you go searching for something that will fit the themes of the speech. and afghanistan veteran is in the audience tonight. he is gone through 20 surgeries and can't wear prosthetics but finished a marathon. they pick people that reinforce parts of the speech. there are some americans whose stories are so extraordinary that they receive invitations
for things that are going to happen. the astronaut scott kelly who is going in march to leave earth to spend the year aboard the international space station. there are things happening and it will bring our quest to discover and reach out and find new worlds. his twin brother is married to a former congresswoman gabby giffords. he wants to see how his body changes in space. there are forward-looking things that people you invite emphasized. mostly, it's individuals that reflect elements of the speech. caller: hi.
i just have a quick question. i was interested to hear about president reagan handling the state of the union. one of the things that he was credited for was in 1983 actually solving the sole security funding crisis -- social security funding crisis. i'm curious to know, was that initiative part of one of his addresses? why hasn't a similar solution then posed in recent times? guest: i think that was tax reform that happened between dan rostenkowski and president reagan. they wanted to keep social security solvent. it happens from time to time and gets extended.
president clinton had a commission that also worked to bring extended life and president obama has as well. as i said earlier, that entitlement reform will likely be a topic that comes up because it's a priority of all of the new members of congress. it's something the country has to address. we can afford to have these programs run out. that may be mentioned tonight. guest: i am hoping that the president comes back around and revisits some of the recommendations that deal with social security. i retrieve with you, it's high time for more similar reforms to come through to save social security and medicare. there was no mention in last year's state of the union.
i think with paul ryan at the ways and means committee, he is very bigamist. hopefully there will be some common ground they can come to. host: is there a difference in approach when both houses are powered by one party? guest: both of our bosses had houses and senates of the opposition party. in those days, you used to setit down the middle. one thing for speechwriters to do was to see if you could get your guy to say something to the other size would applaud. that was considered a good thing. there was one time when will clinton pointed it out when the
republicans clapped for one of his proposals. he add lived -- add lived -- improvised. it does change the dynamic when you have both houses against you. there is some fun with trying to write shameless applause lines. guest: for the president, in a funny way there is something freeing about delivering a speech to a republican majority house and senate. there is a responsibility for governing on them in ways that they haven't had in the time the democrats were in the senate. it's not enough to put reddick -- rhetoric forward. or vote 47 times two overturn the affordable care act.
there is a responsibility for governing. the president is speaking to the opposition party that runs the congress now. he is setting the terms of the debate. we have made a lot of progress. this is my focus for the next year. i think we should help middle-class families. when the banks were in trouble we prop them up and save them. now we're at the -- we're asking banks to pay and help middle-class families. banks are making record profits again. it's setting the terms of the debate. now the responsibility is shared has the house can't just past things anymore. we know this is never going to become law there is pressure.
guest: he has announced that this dative unit is more of a movement than a moment. it's just a broad sweeping statement about his priorities. it's not a legislative agenda. i think part of the problem is the president has not been proposing legislation. the second problem is everything and this will not be legislation, but it will be in his budget. the budget last year was a political statement. two years prior to that, it went down unanimously defeated. for him to put forward a budget as an agenda that he knows the republicans will not accept is like a ceo putting forth a budget to his board of directors
that he knows they will not accept. guest: i understand that position. mitch mcconnell took office in 2010 saying the only thing we are about is to make sure that the president is not reelected. they were not partners in governing. did you have any indication that this congress which passed fewer bills in any congress in history had any intention of working with the president? the proposal to put fees on a banks, that was a republican idea. americans support minimum-wage increase. they support paid leave. they are supportive of free community college.
you may disagree, but that is the debate. those are the things that are party believes in. we believe that we will help improve opportunities or the middle class. a broad cross-section of america agrees. the president has laid out a dozen things. he hasn't been hiding anything. they are all legislative proposals. these are real things. guest: then let's have votes on them. guest: i hope so. it would be a nice change. people want the government to do the job it was sent here to do. host: paul from baltimore maryland. caller: i wonder if you could speak to how contentious it gets
among speechwriters. this president has taken credit for his success. do you suppose there is contentiousness among the speechwriters? he and others say no. guest: speechwriters don't decide what goes in a speech. we are the pen. people way above the pay grade of speechwriters decide what is going to be in it. people that commit their lives to being involved at this level are very passionate. i would pay money to be a fly on the wall of the reagan
speechwriting team who argued endlessly about the meaning of liberty and freedom and what the country stood for. they use all of those adam smith quotes they learned in college. there is always a passionate defense. in our administration, a remarkably talented person was the chief speechwriter. he loved those debates about what is the meaning of our time here together. if you see him today, he will talk passionately about those same things in a more articulate way than most people. there is real passion. at the end of the day, we serve the president. we are serving the president's ideas. they tend to be open to argument. that is part of the reason why
this process is so broad. policies get argued out over the course of the months leading up to the address. the president ways both sides. we air it publicly. we determine if that is the way to go forward. guest: the one i remember was he had said read my lips no new taxes. that was in a number of speeches as president. as speeches were getting circulated for approval, that phrase would get circled. we were told to tone it down. we were completely blindsided when the president agreed to the 1990 budget deal. the speech lighters -- writers were left holding the bag. there was quite a bit of contention if you can imagine.
guest: john f. kennedy said that the biggest surprise was finding out things were as bad as we said they were when they were on the campaign. i don't think the budget director of the situation that craig is -- president reagan had left for president bush. it was a moment of remarkable courage. it was probably one of the great moments of political courage in the last 40 or 50 years. host: mark is calling from alaska. caller: i have a question for both of the guests. what is their favorite modern-day speech? if they have a favorite. i will take my answer off the air. guest: i am assuming not a state of union?
my favorite is president reagan's speech on the 40th anniversary of normandy. peggy noonan wrote it. it's my favorite speech of all time. it talks about the heroic journey of these workingmen who made it to the tops of the clips. i highly recommend it. i have used it to teach the importance of noble rhetoric. guest: that's one of -- a hard one to disagree with. the challenger speech at the president made, he had to delay the state of the union because it happened the day he was supposed to deliver the state of the union. my favorite speech is the eulogy that bob costas gave when mickey mantle died. i don't like the yankees very
much. there was something about the way he captured what it meant to be a yankee fan and what it meant to be a mickey mantle fan as a boy in new york. i am a baseball ever. that speech to me was remarkable. the only speech i have ever memorized word for word was the gettysburg address. it is fewer than 300 words. it is a remarkable statement about what this country is about. the speechwriters who admire lincoln admire him for how spare he was in his eloquence. we teach that you shouldn't use compound sentences. you should use simple sentences. you should use to sell words instead of three. there are few people who understood the effectiveness of
concise argument then and family can. host: one more call. this is larry from california on the independent line. caller: i love the program. i voted for reagan. and i voted for obama. my concern is the keystone pipeline. i worked in the oil fields. i don't understand how the congress can not send a delegation to alberta. i understand ted cruz had parents who work for transcanada. i don't understand why they can't send a delegation to look at the pits of their. this is my request. do not collect oil. -- call it oil. guest: tonight, i doubt we will
hear the words keystone pipeline come out of the president's mouth. i think it should of been passed along time ago. i don't understand why it has taken five years for the state department to be involved in this. it should be passed right away. the unions are in favor of it. the congress is in favor of it. former presidents are in favor of it. i don't understand the problem is. guest: i think he will talk about energy. america is the leading producer of oil and gas in the world which is a remarkable achievement. the keystone pipeline is not as easy as it seems. the oil is heavier. it burns dirtier than other oil. the number of temporary jobs it creates is 4000, but the permanent jobs are 50.
it's a real debate for people that live in places like nebraska and other places if they want to pipeline that is delivering oil to the gulf. oil is so -- it is more expensive to ship things by rail. this is going to be a debate we are going to have a lot. we have more supply than we need. now we have to figure out what to do with it. pipelines are going to be debated. energy independence and what we do with the energy, whether we exported or keep it here, it's going to be something that is debated over the next two years. if you listen to some republicans, everything will be great. there are reasons against it.
they have had plenty of time, but we have not had delegation's go up to canada. host: two guests who are former speechwriters talking about the process of the state of the union. guest: thanks for having us. host: we will continue to talk about the speech tonight. we will have that conversation next. our coverage of the state of the union starts at 8:00. you can listen to the preshow and of the speech. we will get your calls in and have the republican response. our coverage will begin at 8:00. in case you missed it, homeland
security security jeh johnson spoke about dr. king's legacy. this is that from that event. >> last week when i asked his son what i should stay today, he said tell them dad wanted a better world for all god's children and the struggle is not over. the irony of today is that mrs. king's dream of a national holiday for her husband has become a reality. dr. king's dream of a world peace with itself as not. in 2015, hatred, violence, and poverty still inhabit our country. there are many angels among us who also inhabit this planet and inspire us to do better.
like the health care worker who risked her own life to treat the ebola patients in west africa. the people who responded to the terrorist attack in paris. the people who take this day off from work to perform committee service. on this day in 2015, we must rededicate ourselves to a better world in which god's children choose to feed the hungry, care for the sick, clothe the naked choose brotherhood over hatred. host: you can see that event in its entirety on our website. we will be right back. >> tonight, president obama delivers the state of the union address. live coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern.
it will be live on c-span. watch the speech and congressional reaction from statuary hall in the capital. live on c-span2. host: our guest now is from rollcall. he is a staff writer talking about the state of the union tonight. how do you think the congress will respond? guest: i think we have already seen some of the response. what we have seen this year is unusual. the white house and the president have been aggressive about putting out details of the speech before hand. we have seen republicans
responding to the president tax proposals. the $320 billion in new revenues primarily from wealthy heirs and parts of the population. there will be some middle class tax cuts and free community college. i think we see those are not serious or postal's. it's different for the speech this year. there is a lot of this we already know. we are not waiting to see what the response is going to be when the experts are released for the evening news. host: is this something the president wants to see?
is this a means to a larger discussion about tax issues? guest: one of the things being put on the table as part of the proposal is getting rid of the provision of the tax code that says if you have significant capital gains that are unrealized, you own property or investments and you never sell them in your lifetime, the people who inherit them get a step up in the cost basis of those investments. they don't actually pay taxes on the capital gains. it's a huge pot of money if there were a way to get it for the government. maybe this is something the white house is putting on the table for tax reform.
who knows if that will go anywhere. that is the best read on what this might be about. host: this is possibly something they could work together on. guest: it is in theory something they could work together on. there is going to be something at the chamber of commerce by orrin hatch. he will outline his agenda. one of the things that's going to be them marker on their end. we will see with the back-and-forth is going to be between his speech and the state of union.
host: they call him the seventh point man. guest: senator hatch is been around for a long time. you are the longest serving member of the majority party. he has a history of working across the aisle and being able to get deals done on both sides of the aisle. there are bills with ted kennedy in orrin hatch or henry waxman and orrin hatch. these are people who are very liberal and against of the things senator hatch would agree with. he has been able to cut deals in the past. maybe he will be able to do it again. host: our guest is a staff writer from rollcall.
you heard him talk about senator hatch and that event that will take place, you can watch that live on c-span2 and a couple of minutes. we have a lot of callers talking about the community college issue. guest: that is one of the things that is being paid for with the taxes. his concept of providing two years of community college free of cost for eligible students. it would cost $60 billion over a decade. there is a dispute as to whether
or not that is the best way to be dealing with funding of college. one of the disagreements that we have seen that i think is a realistic disagreement is one of the things in one of the white house proposals is to change the tax status of college savings plans. i haven't seen all the details yet. host: these are plans managed i state largely. guest: you may be reallocating the way benefits are given to colleges. it may not be as simple as what is being seen so far. host: our first call is from and in kentucky. go ahead, please. caller: i would like to comment on the fact that during the
election obama said to make no mistake, his policies were on the ballot. the voters have disagreed with his policies. it doesn't seem to matter to him. he is full team ahead on his agenda. his agenda is about income redistribution. that is going to destroy our country. guest: to the extent that a colleges -- caller is from kentucky, that is the home state of mitch mcconnell. guest: i think what is going on -- a lot of what i think is going to be rolled out in the
state of the union tonight is about creating the narrative going forward if we push toward 2016. as someone who covers the capital, this is not necessarily the kind of thing i always want to be hearing about, but that is where we are already. this is an attempt to show a contrast between the two parties heading into the next election. host: cal is from utah. republican line. caller: there is something i want all the people on your program to change in their rhetoric. on this community college thing the president is proposing, when you use the words that his country cost free, there is no such thing as free lunch. that money comes out of taxpayer pockets. the federal government does not pay for one stinking thing.
that all comes from people upon spock it's. -- people pockets. this going to be taxpayer-funded. if you guys would change that rhetoric, call it what it is, it is called redistribution of wealth. guest: the caller makes a significant point. $60 billion over a 10 year cost. it comes from this program that the president is proposing on community college. i think what is being said is it is cost free to the recipients or the beneficiaries because they are deriving the money from other places. certainly, it is a government -- government program that looks like an entire -- an entitlement program. host: a new $500 second earner
tax credit. two years community college and child care tax credit. expanded access to individual retirement accounts. guest: one of the other big pieces are these tax credits. the $500 for the family -- families with second earners. the earned income tax credit more available to more people who do not necessarily have kids or have noncustodial children. those are a couple of the other big pieces. the other things have been -- that have been rolled out, most of this, other than the community college peace were rolled out on saturday. some of the other things that it been rolled out previously that
are of interest and all fit into the same category are the additional paid leave proposal for families and for workers as well as allowing federal workers to get advanced access sick leave in case of childbirth. all kinds of pieces that are flowing around. another one of them is the president's proposing to cut mortgage insurance rates for people who are borrowing money for a house. there is an array of these pieces and how they come together would be the question of which one of these is going to get by in the republican-controlled congress. host:february 2 is the budget day.
it is unusually supposed to be delivered on time this year. that is when we get the details of how all the accounting for all of this works. how much it costs and how to move forward with that. the other thing is the treasury also puts out a separate set of documents that go into the details on tax policy as well. host: craig from kentucky. go ahead. caller: a whole bunch of stuff. you are talking about texas. -- taxes. i was trying to see why is it that when you pay your debt to society in america, why does an american have to wait a whole
seven years to get a job? why is that? host: let's go to ken -- kim in washington. caller: my question is, why has the vote between the republicans and democrats -- it turned into a river. now it is a gulf, kind of like the grand canyon. the sides are so entrenched. guest: there are all sorts of reasons as to why the parties have become more polarized. one of the things we're going to
be looking at with the republicans in control of the senate, to see whether or not there is any room to use the caller passed analogy, that the grand canyon can become narrower so that we are -- social get back to the mississippi river i guess. how effective the republicans are going to be in getting 60 votes which are needed to overcome philip brust -- filibusters to get legislation passed. the ability they will have or not have to find more democrats that are going to be needed to get over these procedural hurdles will be one of the interesting questions. that will determine how many people and will give us a sense of how many people on the democratic side are in that middle ground. host: cody from roswell
georgia. caller: thank you for taking my call. host: go ahead. caller: i want to make a comment about what some of the other people are saying about the redistribution of wealth. this country has already been seeing distribute -- redistricting of wealth. taking from the poor and giving to the rich. guest: that is pretty much exactly the case we are going to be hearing from the president this evening. the way that the tax package is structured, particularly with the top capital gains rate in close -- being raised up to 20% is not something lower income folks are going to be facing a
higher burden out of. the caller's case is that the present -- is the case the president will be making tonight. host: there is a story this morning that harry reid is going to be back to work tonight after that accident of his. he will not be at the state of the union tonight. guest: the biggest question for senator reid as he returns to work, i think we're all happy that he is recovered enough to get back to work. is how much do you want the senate to serve as a blockade against republican proposals
reaching the president's desk? because of the filibuster and the 60 vote threshold, if read can cobble his caucus together you have a situation where he can largely block things and keep obama from having to beat of them. you cannot do that all the time. how often you want to be pressing your more conservative members -- more conservative democrats into holding the line and opposing things that the republicans might be favorable to. host: like keystone? guest: keystone will get past the filibuster hurdle. it does not look like it will get the super majority to
override a veto. it does not look like it will get that 67 votes. sunday, senator hoven was on newsmakers and we asked him about that. he was about four votes short then. he is hoping amendments can be added that might pick up more votes. right now, i do not see that. host: that program, still on her website. don, from texas, go ahead. caller: going with the theme of being underserved, i believe we live in a society where being unprivileged is compressed. whenever loans are trying to be ascertained, we are looking at higher interest rates. a rate of high credit. they are not being asked for a
higher down payment. we are charging lower income families higher prices to live in a society and charging higher income families lower prices. can you explain? guest: part of what you are talking about in the market is a question of credit worthiness. where a bank is going to be more likely to lend money to people who they think are going to be more likely to pay it back because interest rates are based on risk. this goes back to the mortgage instruments premiums peace -- mortgage insurance premiums peace. he announced an event in phoenix earlier in the month that the federal housing administration would be strict -- would be slashing mortgage insurance premiums down to about .85%
which should save people who are borrowing from their -- for their homes for mortgages that have fha loans, which are primarily going to be loans that are more applicable to people at the lower end of the income scale then people who are dealing with things directly. host: roger, independent line. caller: great show. the one thing i have problems with -- first of all, this is a great country. all the opportunities. when people start talking about this person makes more than i do and it is not fair, it is on the individual. when you take that away from someone, it becomes difficult to succeed. if you put so much regulation --
as a businessman, when we borrow money, take care of our income in our businesses, if there are so many regulations it limits us from succeeding. my business succeeds -- if my business succeeds, i can hire more people. when people start saying, wire the rich getting richer? they have to see themselves in the barrier. guest: i will say one of the things that will be interesting to see -- whether or not we see this evening, is what the president says in regards to regulation. it will be interesting to see what the president is proposing in terms of new regulation as they pertain to environmental or
energy issues, as well as what we see -- if there is more talk about regulatory reform or easing burdens on businesses and how that balancing act is done. republicans will tell you that balancing the current administration, particularly the environmental protection agency has made on these fronts is not something republicans like at all. it will do everything in their power to stop it. i think what we hear the president say on various environmental regulations might be one of the more interesting things that might be a surprise tonight. host: our guest is niels lesniewski. quoted in the des moines register this morning, talking about joni ernst.
guest: the question was these responses -- as i was telling the des moines register, what always is the interesting thing is it is so seldom that those responses get any attentions unless something goes wrong or there is some sort of odd moment . think back to senator rubio with the water a couple years ago. the biggest thing is to deliver the message's is singly as possible -- as is singly as possible and not cause anything to go wrong. seldom are those things that are memorable except when something odd comes out of them. it is a tough assignment.
it is a marker for senator ernst that she was asked by the leadership to take that on, but it is a difficult job to actually do. host: what is the message being sent by choosing her? guest: by choosing one of the nine new senate republicans who picked up seats that were previously held by democrats that is the message of the republican conference this year. their newly expanded ranks. the story of this year is all of these additional republican senators and the extent to which they came in. in many cases, running against the president. it is an interesting marker in that regard. here's one of these people who was running against the president's policies in iowa, who is now one tasked with this
responsibility. host: do have a sense of how she's preparing? guest: we have seen a little bit of how this preparation is going. this is a speech that will be crafted by people -- she is familiar with. you want this message to be the message of the party. it is not like this is a case where you have one person -- while there is one person delivering the message, this is the response of the republicans on capitol hill, both sides of the rotunda, particularly senate republicans. a lot of people will be on board with what she is saying. host: some information saying she will stand before a hearing room table. there will betray gets of iowa on the table.
-- there will betray get be trinkets of iowa on the table. guest: one of the things about the way the speeches are done the state of the union goes on for however long it goes on for. then, the response from the minority party only lasts eight or 10 minutes. there is a lot to put in. one thing that is different this year, we mentioned earlier, the amount of detail that is been put out by the white house about what is in the president's speech. we all have stacks of proposals that we got. one of the things that is different this year is there is a lot to respond to. you're not making educated guesses about what you need to
respond to. response this year may be more of a response in some of what we've seen in past years. host: we've also seen tea party responses in other groups. guest: there is a tea party response coming this year. i believe it is congress and clawson from florida. -- congressman clawson from florida. maybe for those who are not familiar with the internal dynamics of how it works of capitol hill, there are a number of television cameras in statuary hall following the speech where lawmakers go and address their local media national media and that is the way -- maybe more of the
response this year will be focused on local news. host: john, from georgia. go ahead. caller: can you hear me? host: go ahead. caller: some of the comments about the speech. the president is going to propose reducing taxes on the middle class. those who cani want to make a comment about change for tax codes. if you take less money from the economy, what happens? more economic growth. there are examples of the capital gains tax codes from 1996 helped produce more growth in revenues, regardless of what
nancy pelosi says. you look at the actual numbers from 2003, i read an article two years ago from 2003 2 2007, the revenue increased. 5% gdp growth coming out of a recession. in the midst of two wars. host: what would you like our guest to address? caller: the fact that there are numerous examples historically. guest: i think one of the things there is going to be a story of this year on capitol hill.
i may lose some people in the audience right now. the dynamic scoring debate, which is basically republicans want to change the way, and are changing the way, legislation is scored. it accounts for effects on the economy along the lines of what our caller was talking about. not nexus early a meeting to be paid for because they do not need to be offset because they will drive economic growth. those scoring changes and budgetary debates going to see different numbers. we may have competing numbers as the year goes on on how much things cost where people disagree about what the math is. host: brady is up next, dallas,
texas. good morning. we will try greg from alabama. caller: good morning. i have a question. do you deal in commercial property? host: go ahead with your question or comment. caller: my question is do you deal with commercial property? it seems with -- seems at how people with no understanding of how capital gains affect growth want to increase capital gains. it is not always the mouth -- the wealth that is affected. i recently bought a building about three years ago, we did it, had my wife's business in it. a company came in and wanted to
buy, i sold it. it is k -- if capital gains increase had been in place -- put people to work. i would not have sold the building if i have to add more to the federal government anyway. guest: that is exactly the debate that is going to be happening. i do not expect -- i do not think this is a surprise, i do not expect capital gains increase that is in the proposal has any chance of seeing daylight with the republican congress. i think the broader point is
correct that any time you change the tax code, there are all sorts of extra now at the current play. -- that come into play. if we get into a broader debate about tax reform, this is exactly the kind of case why it is so difficult. host: chase on or democrats line. caller: i want to know why every time you all are on tv, it is about taxes. should it not be about what is really going on in america? it should be about, if i am in america you keep talking about taxes, but there are bigger
issues that goes on besides taxes. host: such as what? caller: you've got people going to jail every day, paying their debt to the society and to get out have to wait seven years to get a job. you have people on child support and the only option they forgot for not paying child support is going to jail -- the only option they have got for not paying child support is going to jail. you try to throw taxes at us. host:guest: i think one of the things that is not been as clear about what is in the state of the union speech's evening is if there is going to be anything on issues -- or to the extent of issues like prison reform.
there is bipartisan, in some cases, concern about the way the prison system operates. sentencing needs to have changes made. the caller from kentucky mentioned that senator paul is one of the republicans who is interested. a lot of what we've gotten so far is the really detailed level of what the president is talking about our policy proposals. things with numbers in taxes. that is a lot of the reason why the conversation has been so far. host: fill in bristol virginia. caller: thanks for taking my
call. i've been hearing a lot about redistributing the wealth in this country. i would like to know what kind of country we live in when you have less than 1000 people in this country that have more personal wealth than 300 million people in this country together? this is just crazy. we have people going overseas hiding their money from the country, hurting the country by not paying taxes. that is a little bit like treason. host: the impact of what is behind the proposal could cause contention for congress. guest: the pieces of these proposals, in their more narrow sense. -- if you have a situation
where people are talking about rewriting the tax code and democrats say ok, we can get on board with rewriting the tax code but we want more money to go back into the pockets of couples that have two earners in their household, or you have a situation where you say, we can get on board with that, but maybe we need to do something more at how we treat capital gains are people died. these things could come up for discussion in other contexts. that is probably were more of this goes than in any specific sense. host: the next speech will be the last. is this the year that these things have to get done as far as the president's the agenda is concerned? guest: i think that is more
likely than not the case. by the time we reached the next state of the union, we will be dealing with iowa and new hampshire. i assume the various lawmakers on the capital where running for president will come back for the state of the union speech, but we have already seen a situation -- for example, senator paul decided that instead of going to the republican retreat in hershey, he went to new hampshire and arizona and nevada for a few days. to a lot of people, it was laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign. the question will be, how much can get done realistically? this is the window if anything
will happen. host: vicki is from braden's, florida. caller: thank you for taking my call. i'm hoping the president addresses a couple issues because it is upsetting to me to know they are always picking on the rich. it is sad because a couple of people that i know who are fairly wealthy, they are the most generous people to donate to nonprofit organizations. i wonder how that is going to affect nonprofits if they cut into our most wealthiest generous people. i think the president should concentrate on the polls that are happening with corporations and fraud, medical fraud across the country. there's a group on linked in called stop fraud. the report millions of dollars
of medical fraud. guest: whether or not the president focuses on this at all, i have not the faintest idea. when it comes to things that medical fraud medicare billing fraud, we are to hear a lot more about that with the republicans in charge of the senate finance committee, you may even see some of it out of the senate judiciary committee. where chuck grassley is going to be the chairman, who has always been interested in those issues. one way or the other, we will hear about that sort of issue in the coming year. host: what do you think the headline will be after tonight? guest: we have gotten so much detail about things like the domestic agenda that the
headline tomorrow has to be foreign policy. there's got to be something -- i do not know whether it will pertain to isis or what the subject matter will be, there's been so much advance work on the -- if you want the morning news headline tomorrow, it is going to be a foreign policy item we've not been paying too much attention to. host: you can see the writing of he and his colleagues at rollcall.com. coming up, -- we want get your impact for -- input for the final half-hour. for democrats, (202) 748-8000.
for republicans, (202) 748-8001. for independents, (202) 748-8002 . we will take those calls. ♪ >> president obama delivers his state of the union address. live coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern. including the president's speech , republican response, and your reaction on open phones. on c-span two, watch congressional reaction from the statuary hall at the u.s. capitol.
>> washington journal continues. host: the state of the union and does it matter? (202) 748-8000 for democrats. (202) 748-8001 four republicans. for independents, (202) 748-8002 . e-mail the journal at c-span.org . a look at if it is worth the pomp and circumstance. some of what he writes about this morning saying, let's be honest, the scale that surrounds washington is a skeleton of the past that is not meant to refer solely to the architecture. it refers to the pageantry beyond modern utility and
necessity. we are getting your thoughts this morning if you think the address is worth it. how do plan to respond to it. we are not only talking about speeches that have -- ideas that in floated over the last couple of weeks. social media making a presence as well. overall, your thoughts. (202) 748-8000 for democrats. (202) 748-8001 for republicans. (202) 748-8002 for independents. the white house in its preparations put out a video on youtube taking a look at some of the preparation and themes that will emerge. [video clip] >> any sports fan knows you have to play the whole game. over the last six years, we've
been a weight down by the legacy of the great depression. because of the risk and resilience of the american people, last year was the best year for job growth we've seen's the 1990's. we seen manufacturing come back. we have cut our deficit and gas prices have dropped. we are positioned for the future . the key is making the right choices. this state of the union gives me an opportunity to present to the american people now that we have fought our way to the crisis. how do we make sure that everyone in this country is sharing in this growing economy? but they have the tools to succeed -- that they have the tools to succeed? host: here's joey, oklahoma. democrats line. caller: one thing i wanted to
say that i do not think the president will address that members of congress have shown a lot of interest in is bringing back the doctrine that says if you're going to run a news station that claims to be a news agency, you have to show a balance between both viewpoints. we've got fox news. the president's approval rating -- we are constantly given disinformation about the state of affairs. study after study has proven people who take in that new source actually have a lower understanding of the actual details that face our country. host: martin from virginia, independent line. caller: i listened to one
comment on the fact that government -- i was born in another country, i've been in the military. i am a registered republican. the thing i find is that -- i consider myself an independent. when you look at the policies put forth by the president is that, we do not see which one is the best for the country. they will vote for the constituency that supports them financially. if you look at the wealth that is grown in the last couple of
years i think we can make democracy holder one vote counts . so much money in politics. host: thanks, martin. we will go to terry, north carolina. caller: hi. i wanted to say, i do not see the point in listening to anything else this man has to say since it has been a lie for the last six years anyway. i do not see why we should waste our time listening to anything else he has to say. host: the head of the rnc weighing in on twitter saying the proposals are so out of touch, you have to ask if there is any point to the speech.
speaker john boehner saying fill in the blank. the most important thing potus could say during the state of the union is? from florida, talking about speaker boehner, inviting a cuban to the speech. joe on the democrats line. caller: people talking about cutting taxes and doing away with taxes how are we supposed to rebuild our highway system and transportation system? if the government cuts their taxes, that means all the blurred and -- all the burden will fall on local governments. who is going to pay for everything going on in this country? that is what they should start talking about, the infrastructure of this country.
that does not make any sense because we need to tax. host: pam from michigan. caller: my question is, what does the single-parent -- the single taxpayer have to look forward to? i have no children and i work every day. what do i have to look forward to? host: that is pam from michigan. the state of the union is tonight. coverage of it starts at 8:00. we are asking you if you think it matters. pick a line that best represents you. when it comes to future politics , a decision for the democratic national convention. this is ken. -- ken thomas and thomas lanier.
the price technically $65 million, the choice will come down to a big city or the compounds of another -- combines of another battleground state. new york city has been a popular choice. bill clinton was nominated in madison square garden. philadelphia is home to the liberty bell and independence hall. it's convenient east coast location. a convenient rebuttal to republicans who think their july 2016 convention -- hold their july 2016 convention in cleveland. caller: my question is resort -- regarding the single working
taxpayer. host: i think i already took you. claremont, california? caller: sorry. good morning. they're counting on you to be stupid enough. when the president talks about lower gas prices, you have to go, what does anything about limiting drilling on federal land -- six years to prove. see the situation. nobody is courageous enough to say, did we not pick an unqualified person? don't we realize it is time we get rid of people like cam and focus on what we need to do is give the people money they need to build their businesses?
host: the former head of shell oil has been quoted in today's usa today. the headline says five dollars gas on the way. but as john hofmeister think the next round of high prices is likely to start next year -- this year. global demand as to how much capital constraint. demand for growth continues at 2% or more. whether he reach four dollars a gallon or higher is too early to tell. sanford, florida. republican line. caller: i wanted to speak on
comments people were talking about earlier about why they should not listen to it. as republican, i believe we listen to the state of the union , not only to see with the president is talking about -- you should listen to it because in a way, even if the thing you want accomplished didn't happen, we have to listen to it because there is something he's going to speak of that has to affect you when it comes to taxes. i believe the president has to find a way to lower the taxes to where the companies will not outsource their money as they did in the past. which also have -- that is what i think is one of the biggest problems is going on right now. that is what i would like to address. the thing about legalization of marijuana. it has to be spoken of.
i'm tired of -- the government needs to speak on it. they know that they were wrong in the past. i believe the united states needs to do this before another country takes on it and takes the credit to be the first country to legalize marijuana. host: past guest talked about joni ernst, giving the republican response. john boehner tweeting out practice sessions that are taking place with senator ernst. there she is in front of where she will speak tonight. that is part of our total coverage on c-span starting at 8:00. you will get a chance to call in and see the present possible speech -- the president's speech. steve, reading pennsylvania. caller: i think it is important for president obama to give his
state of the union speech because we have to know what he is planning for the year. also, i would hope that the veterans will get help that they need, coming back from afghanistan and iraq. also the vietnam veterans. i hope he addresses some funds for their well-being that comes. there is a problem in the veteran area that needs to be addressed. i think that -- he should also push companies to give some incentive to bring back jobs to the united states so we can increase our production level on -- for the middle class action.
host: let's hear from nora, democrats line. caller: i'm tired of the scalawag plantation owner republicans always getting up here criticizing our president. host: that is nora from columbus, georgia. tonight, after the speech it is typical for the president to offer interviews. this time, a different approach. instead of network news anchors going to people, the washington post says, it is not just the usual. this time, -- you'll not find these folks at an anchor desk. all three are famous on youtube which seems akin to saying that youtube fame is a real thing.
instructions for throwing a new year's eve party including sparkly glitter classes that garnered nearly 3 million hits. but as more average combined than the primetime audiences of c-span, fox news, and msnbc. [video clip] >> the president of the united states. >> my subscribers want to know about education. >> the economy. >> racial profiling. >> unemployable -- unemployment. >> who is your favorite youtube creator? host: allison from cameron,
north carolina. caller: i believe that it is important to watch the president's state of the union address tonight. i also believe that he will greet edify -- re-edify who the party actually supports. i believe it is important to watch it and listen to the republican response. thank you. host: larry, from humbles iowa. caller: as far as the state of the union address is concerned it makes no difference what he says to the republicans or democrats there. he is out to talk to the people, make the people feel good. he took the bull by the horns immediately after the election. he took over immigration.
he has to republicans on their heels and they are trying to play catch-up and doing exactly what they want him to do and not come out with any good policies. host: this is a new york times writer saying a video posted online tuesday, reportedly by the group depicted a militant with a knife threatening to kill hostages within 72 hours unless the government in tokyo paid a ransom of $200 million. the video apparently shows two men with a masked militant standing between them. it also has a still of the two men kneeling. tim, connecticut. democrats line. caller: i saw that obama is
going to provide community college. i was concerned with that because it seems like the federal government is placing more emphasis on associate's degrees in spite of a bachelors degree. you can go to street school for free. it does not -- you can go to a trade school for free. it does not make sense. caller: talking about taxes and everything. i'm looking at immigrants that come here. most of the countries those immigrants come from, the u.s. gives them aid. when they get here, my thought is, the aid they are giving those people, they should cut that aid at their going to keep immigrants and take that aid why should we send aid to those
people sending people over here and it can do they want? host: a political scientist at the university of california has rated the supreme court justice in terms of sarcasm. a story can find in the human -- in the new york times. his justice scalia that lands at the top of the sarcasm index. a law professor at the university of california irvine has developed a tool. scalia registered 2.78 on the index. justice samuel alito came in second and 0.43. there were 134 opinions subscribed. the index took that number and
divided by the number of years the justices have served. find out more the new york times website. gerald from maryland. independent line. caller: did i just hear you say the ceo of chevron -- host: the former head of shell oil. caller: we do not need to worry about tax breaks now if we are going back to five dollars. that's just my opinion. host: eat the usa today has another story. -- the usa today has another story. to show you the headline that states are looking at heightened gas prices and fuel prices -- as fuel prices plunge.
let's hear from jeff in a -- justin in ohio. caller: i think it is important to watch the state of the union this evening. especially if you can include your children. to demonstrate your children what a wildly dishonest republican -- a wildly dishonest politician looks like. barack obama is the leading dishonest man income -- in washington, d.c.. host: donna, somerville maryland. donna from maryland? donna from massachusetts, i'm sorry. caller: i am going to watch the state of the union tonight but i
cannot understand why he -- why these republicans are always -- always criticize obama. people that voted republican last year made their beds so now they can lay in it. they voted for the wrong party that is what they did. (202) 748-8000 for democrats. (202) 748-8001 are line for republicans. (202) 748-8002 hour line for independents. asking about the state of the union address. peter baker writing in the new york times this morning about the speech. with american job markets surging, president obama plans to use the speech to declare victory over the hard times that dominated for six years of office and ask to tackle other
issues like income equality. the austerity that is frustrated him for much of his tenure by coming off a midterm election that handed full control to congress -- of congress to republicans, president obama is trying to frame the remaining time in power and the tony 16 contest to succeed him. -- 2016 contest to succeed him. if you want to think about the worship when it comes to the state of the union. it was back in 2014 that 33.3 million people watched the address. that has fallen 33.5.
in 2010, it was 48 million people watching. luke, from kentucky. caller: i feel that president obama needs to address immigration reform and a lot of people feel strongly that his takes on immigration is quite wrong. i feel like that needs to be addressed. a lot of people disagree. i feel like that should be addressed. host: what kind of issues would you like to hear when it comes to immigration? caller: i feel like there should be a better process in place. there should be basically, he is allowing people to come over
and take jobs. a lot of people feel like there should be a better process in place. if people want to get legal while there are over here instead of just coming over here and trying to get the slap on the wrist. it is affecting our budget as far as taxpayers money. free welfare or health care. the whole system as far as immigrants coming over these to be a better system.